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South India


The southern portion of the Western Ghats, the range of low mountains extending for more than 1500km parallel to the west coast of peninsular India, are home to the South Western Ghats Montane Rainforest eco-region, renowned as one of the most ecologically rich parts of the world.  Although the ghats (literally 'steps') lie squarely in the tropics their higher ranges exhibit extra-tropical climate due to the influence of altitude, creating a unique admixture of tropical and temperate qualities from their base to the highest peaks.


The state of Kerala, located along the Malabar coastline of the Arabian Sea, together with neighbouring Tamil Nadu, offers easy access across the altitudinal range, from lowland tropical forest to the unique montane Shola forest and rolling grassland ecosystem of the ghats' highest plateaus.  The complex geography and duplicity in habitat types is reflected in an incredible diversity of species, and a remarkable degree of endemism.  28 birds are considered endemic or near-endemic to the Western Ghats, 27 of which can be seen here in the Cardamom and Nilgiri Hills and their associated ranges, the one exception being found only along the Konkan coast further north.


The region has a birdlist of over 400 species, and these regional endemics are accompanied by a number of peninsular Indian endemics, a selection of more widespread Indian and Asian species, and a host of Palaearctic migrants in the winter months.  Endemism is not confined to birds - the Western Ghats support a selection of endemic butterflies and mammals, most notably including Lion-tailed Macaque, one of the world's most threatened primates and Nilgiri Tahr, one of the world's rarest mountain goats.  Further north, Nagarhole and Bandipur National Parks offer the chance of large mammals including Asian Elephant, Leopard, and scarcer Tiger.



Endemics of the Western Ghats & the Andaman Islands

Tour Code: SI001/AI002 / 18 days 

A thorough exploration of two of India's most important Endemic Bird Areas, providing the chance of all available endemic or near-endemic birds (28 and 20 respectively) of southern India's Western Ghats and the remote Andaman Islands.


Kerala's Cardamom Hills

Tour Code: SI002 / 8 days

The Cardamom Hills of the southern Indian state of Kerala encompass the rainforest of the foothills and the highest peaks of the entire chain of the Western Ghats, providing the opportunity of most restricted range endemics. 


Endemic mammals of southern India

Tour Code: SI003 /

The Western Ghats, the low mountains dominating southwest peninsular India, are home to several endemic mammals in the combination of lowland tropical forest and unique Shola forest and grassland of high plateaus.